• shampoo

Shampoo Claims – a Load of Nonsense!

I was asked by Tros Radar about the truth and nonsense with regards to special shampoos. You can apply all sorts of substances onto your scalp under the shower: caffeine to counteract hair loss, keratin for fuller locks and vitamins for healthy hair. But does it really work in a shampoo?

A couple of weeks ago I was waiting in the pharmacy for a sales assistant to serve me. She was busy persuading a nice old lady to buy an expensive shampoo which would prevent hair thinning… I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from interfering, but afterwards, I wished I had said something. For the woman went home less well- off with a poor quality shampoo in her shopping bag. In a couple of weeks she’s going to have her illusions shattered as well. At least I can still tell my story on Tros Radar tonight; just hope the sales assistant is watching too… I’ve listed a few claims below:
#1 Does the hair salon have better quality shampoos than the pharmacy?
The quality of a shampoo is determined by the cleansing and conditioning ingredients used. Because these aren’t very expensive, it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money on a shampoo. Salon products are often more expensive than products bought in a shop, even though they contain the same ingredients! Some hair salon- and pharmacy products come from the same manufacturers and are pretty much identical. L’Oreal, for instance, have the make Kerastase which is sold by lots of hair salons and Garnier Fructis and L’Oreal Elvive which is sold in the shops.

#2 Do vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. make your hair healthier?
That, unfortunately, is impossible, as your hair is dead material (proteins, particularly keratin). So, if you have ruined your hair, the damaged cannot repair itself. You can, however, protect your hair and make it shine by applying a thin layer of emollient onto the hair. This will also make it easier to comb. You can compare it to polishing leather. But, just like polishing shoes, this layer is temporary. So substances such as vitamins are also unable to help (dead) hair. They have little effect on the cells which produce hair too. If they were able to have an effect, you rinse them off before they can get to the hair follicle.

#3 Can caffeine shampoos make hair grow?
Caffeine would need to be able to get inside the hair follicle in order to have an effect, as hair is dead. But shampoo doesn’t come into contact with your scalp for long enough for the caffeine to reach there. Some laboratory research shows hair that stays in the growth phase for a longer period of time under the influence of caffeine, but this has only been carried out in a test tube and not using a shampoo. It would take around 2 years to see the effects, if any, and you would need to continue its use for good. We do know that caffeine is an outstanding substance for protecting your skin from the sun but, this has less relevance in a shampoo.

#4 A fuller and stronger head of hair through keratin?
Hair can easily break from over brushing and combing. Many people with complaints about hair loss are actually suffering from hair breakage. This is the most common cause of hair loss. You can prevent this by keeping combing and styling (blow drying) to a minimum, using a good shampoo/conditioner and avoiding other chemical treatments such as colouring.
Now, back to the claim; by using keratin you reduce the chances of hair breakage through brushing, combing or blow drying. As a result of which you have the possibility of “fuller and thicker” hair.

#5 Shampoo to stop grey hair?
These shampoos are actually just “silver-rinses”; people started using silver nitrate around 1800 to make grey hair brown! Moreover silver nitrate is very controversial… So it doesn’t make your hair start producing melanin again at all, it just colours your hair. If you stop using it then you will just end up with grey roots again.

More tonight in Tros Radar.. You can find the link to the programme here!

Regards, Jetske

(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read these blogs:
“Product Advice; Shampoo”
“With Skin and Hair”
“Tips for Beautiful and Lovely Hair”
and “Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate”.